The Largest Aircraft Ever Built: Meet the H-4 Hercules (Or the Spruce Goose)

April 2, 2019 | 52 views

The Time magazine article was titled “It Flies!” It was a note of triumph and vindication, but also an epitaph, of an aircraft that was five years in the making the “Spruce Goose,” a plane that should not have existed. Many things were against it, even, to a certain degree, its creator.

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National Business Aviation Association

Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association, Inc. (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful.

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BUSINESS AVIATION

Inside NASA’s New Sustainable Flight Demonstrator Program

Article | January 7, 2022

NASA is known for developing and launching spacecraft that have a significant environmental impact. However, the space agency is fully on board with the net-zero movement. NASA supports the White House's Aviation Climate Action Plan. It is helping fund several aviation projects that aim to reduce the aviation industry’s damage to the environment. NASA’s Sustainable Flight Demonstrator Program NASA focuses on technologies for single-aisle aircraft, which are the powerhouses of many airline fleets and account for nearly half of global aviation emissions. NASA's Sustainable Flight Demonstrator (SFD) project aims to reduce carbon emissions and keep the US competitive in the design of single-aisle commercial airliners, which are in high demand. "Since its creation, NASA has worked with industry to develop and implement innovative aeronautics technology and has shared it with the world," said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. "Now, with this ambitious new project, we're again joining with US industry to usher in a new era of cutting-edge improvements that will make the global aviation industry cleaner, quieter, and more sustainable." NASA Wants to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Commercial Aircraft The program’s goal is to build, test, and fly a large-scale demonstrator. NASA hopes to find a business partner for a Funded Space Act Agreement with its Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, by the beginning of 2023. The agreement would draw on private-industry knowledge and experience, with an awardee developing a suggested technical plan and committing considerable cash to the project. Under this agreement, NASA would not purchase an aircraft or any other hardware for its missions. The mission of NASA is to develop new and innovative technologies and capabilities. NASA will collect data on the ground and in the air. Agency and industry teams can use it to test the airframe configuration and related technologies. Moving Away From Space NASA's technologies are typically cutting-edge. However, as with many high-end items, the benefits and applications frequently filter down to the masses. NASA's specialized technology and research frequently has civil aviation applications. It's interesting to see how NASA seems to be moving away from space and going after planes that fly closer to Earth.

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BUSINESS AVIATION

A Peek into The Future of Piloting Airplanes

Article | January 28, 2022

Flying is changing, and so is the future of piloting. With technological advancements across the aviation industry, one can only anticipate what’s in store for the future of piloting. The battle between automation and learning skills that automation can easily take over is coming to a head. As airplane engineering matures, the aviation industry isn’t far from seeing a day when pilots who have undergone training on electric trainers require a license endorsement to fly a piston-powered aircraft. Goodbye, Manual Flying Airplanes are becoming downright easier to fly. Consider how most pilots today would never be able to fly the aircraft that their seniors trained in. According to experts, piloting skills will put more emphasis on the efficient use of airspace systems instead of directing and maneuvering the aircraft. Decoding Airplane Information Traditionally, a pilot’s primary task was to gather and decode the information he received through the aircraft’s systems. This information was then used to give the pilot an “air picture” which allowed him to get a sense of the air traffic, airspace, and weather. As aircraft technology improves, pilots will no longer need to know how to do this. Instead, the "air picture" will be shown on a screen in front of them. Final Word From augmented reality to 3D spatial audio cues, augmentation is happening to aircraft as well as the pilot’s ability to fly them. The evolution of aviation technology will only help transform the mechanics of airplanes, and pilots will no longer need to handle flight control. As augmented reality takes over, future cockpits might not even need to be at the front of the aircraft or have windows. That would be the true test of the future of piloting.

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AVIATION TECHNOLOGY

5 Digital Strategies for the Aviation Industry

Article | June 2, 2022

Whether you’re a small, newer airline looking to make a splash in the online world or a niche brand wanting to expand your customer base, you’ll need the right aviation marketing strategies in your arsenal. Similar to any other industry in today’s market, digital strategies are non-negotiable for brands in the aviation space who are hoping to connect with customers online and restore customer confidence in the aftermath of COVID-19. And if you’re looking to take your brand to the digital skies, you need impactful strategies that help you offer a seamless customer experience. Let’s look at five strategies you can use for your aviation marketing strategy. Aviation Marketing through Social Media Visibility is a hugely important goal to achieve for any business. After all, how can you hope to attract new customers if no one knows about you? This is especially true and important for smaller airlines or those not operating in the commercial space. For example, when the average customer thinks about traveling by plane, they probably aren’t considering private airlines. But if customers see content online about airlines, perhaps even highlighting that some private airlines fall in their price range, things can change. Once customers are aware of your company, you’re one step closer to securing a sale. The key is getting in the picture in the first place—something social media can do. In addition to visibility, use social media to keep your customers informed. Despite us seemingly living in a post-COVID world, uncertainty is still a big factor that customers and airlines alike have to consider. Positive coronavirus results or transmission outbreaks can throw a wrench in travel plans right up until check-in, but social media offers a way to keep customers informed with live information and updates. Airlines can use social media platforms like Twitter to post live updates on flights, including regular information on delays, but also more unexpected and yet super useful updates on things such as weather conditions at their destination. And if you’re looking for international aviation marketing strategies as a multinational company, social media is a great way to connect with customers across territories too, thanks to its global reach. Digital Customer Service Strategies We saw during COVID-19 how important it was to provide quick, accurate information to customers, with things like up-to-date websites, live social updates, and automated texts for flight changes. These strategies all helped to streamline customer service offerings, as well as free up helplines and customer service booths at airports, and they have helped establish a new benchmark when it comes to customer service. Having a solid customer service strategy in place is more important than ever—specifically, having one that’s responsive, flexible, and digital. This means offering smart chatbots that can assist with frequently asked questions, detailed guidance online addressing common challenges that customers face, and over-the-phone support in multiple languages that can enhance an international aviation marketing strategy. Customer service might not seem like it matches with airline marketing, but going above and beyond for your customers is essential in creating the right reputation for your brand. Establishing your company as a gold-star service provider will not just give you something to shout about online, but it will also keep customers loyal and engaged with you too. Mobile Solutions We all know that the future is mobile—and it’s no different for aviation companies, who have that same pressure to keep up with technological advancements if they want to provide the best service possible for their customers. Smartphones are an integral part of all of our lives, and they’re now just as important as ever, as people are taking their digital identification with them on their travels. Aviation companies must recognize the company they keep in the travel space, where mobile apps support customers on their journeys and trips—from navigation to weather and accommodation to ridesharing. Without an interactive app or fully mobile-friendly site, an airline’s strategy for marketing won’t be as impactful. Customers used to have to carry printed versions of their flight documents in order to board, including boarding passes and booking confirmations, but things aren’t so paper-based anymore. Digital wallets that keep boarding passes safe and apps that store customers’ flight information are the norm now. Mobile apps are also fantastic for driving loyalty programs. With an interactive app where customers can collect and cash in loyalty points, you not only provide an easy way for customers to enjoy their rewards, but also make flying more accessible and cost-effective. In a post-COVID market, there is even more of an emphasis on contactless travel—another area where mobile solutions can play a key role. Phones allow consumers to have all their information handy, and other contactless technology helps facilitate airport management. Content that Creates Real Connections Digital content has the potential to reach a wider audience and, more importantly, turn readers into customers, so it should be included in any airline marketing strategy. Showing customers exactly what your company can do for them, and how you do it, is crucial for establishing strong branding and customer relationships. It’s how airlines can differentiate themselves from their competitors and add value to their services. Meaningful content that your audience will trust includes user-generated content that offers real insights into what it’s like to be a customer of your company, such as honest reviews and feedback from real customers. You can deliver this content in a variety of ways—e.g., blogs, videos, social media, PR—but however you choose to do so, be sure to keep the story at the forefront of your narrative to create those all-important connections with customers. Omnichannel Digital Experiences Alongside social media, there are a slew of other digital channels that should be considered in your digital strategy. This is hugely important because of the myriad ways that consumers interact with the online world nowadays. If it’s not live Twitter updates, it’s check-in reminder emails. The point is that brands need to be present across different platforms and digital mediums in order to provide a competitive and effective experience for their customers. For airlines, it’s about making sure that no matter what device a customer is using, their journey is cohesive and streamlined. They should be able to switch seamlessly between your website on their laptop and emails on a tablet, with the right information easy and quick to find in a consistently branded way. It’s also worth considering that people tend to carry multiple devices with them while traveling, making it even more important for airlines and airports alike to offer omnichannel digital content to their customers. Conclusion Whatever part of your aviation branding or marketing you need support with, the team at TPT Digital can take your brand to new heights. The 2022 Aviation Festival is a great opportunity for learning, connection, and collaboration—come and say hello to us there! Also, get in touch if you’d like to discuss how TPT Digital can support your paid social media content. We’re happy to give you a free quote.

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AVIATION TECHNOLOGY

New Podcast Explores GE Aviation Technologies for a Decarbonized Future of Flight

Article | June 2, 2022

This week, the GE Gas Power team launched season five of Cutting Carbon, their award-winning podcast that focuses on climate change, the basics of what decarbonization is and the technologies behind it. In season five, the team is focused on decarbonization closer to home and invited Arjan Hegeman, GE Aviation’s general manger for advanced technologies, to talk about the future of flight. Learn more about the role of GE Aviation’s technologies available today and in development for tomorrow to make aircraft engines more fuel efficient and reduce carbon emissions. Open fan, hybrid electric and hydrogen combustion are all discussed by Hegeman and the hosts. Over two episodes, Hegeman also explains the importance of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), along with the new engine technologies, to help the aviation industry reach its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Future of Flight is a two-part episode, and can be found as Episode 27 and Episode 28 under Cutting Carbon. You can listen to the podcast here or on your favorite streaming platform! The aviation industry is at an inflection point for new technology introduction and acceleration of technology development, Hegeman says. GE Aviation is currently developing its next-generation suite of engine technologies, including open fan engine architecture, hybrid-electric propulsion, and advanced thermal management concepts. GE Aviation is also supporting industry initiatives to approve and adopt 100% SAF and is partnering on a new flight demonstration program to test zero-carbon hydrogen fuel combustion. GE’s ambition is to be a net zero company by 2050, including the Scope 3 emissions from the use of sold products. GE is also committed to being carbon neutral by 2030 in its own facilities and operations, including Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions.

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Spotlight

National Business Aviation Association

Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association, Inc. (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful.

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DEFENSE AND SPACE

Elbit Systems UK JV introduces sustainable aviation pathfinder for Ministry of Defence

Elbit Systems | April 18, 2022

Elbit Systems UK and KBR Inc's joint venture, Affinity Flying Training Services Ltd (Affinity), has embarked on a series of battery-powered flight tests for the UK Ministry of Defence to assess the feasibility of environmentally friendly alternatives to current military aircraft. The concept of trialling zero emissions aircraft, and the subsequent pathfinder, was brought to the Ministry of Defence by Elbit Systems UK through its joint venture with KBR Inc, Affinity. The introduction of this pathfinder demonstrates the company's commitment to providing innovative solutions for the UK Armed Forces and addressing the needs of the future. In line with the Ministry of Defence's 'green' transformation, the flights aim to help the Royal Air Force (RAF) assess the technology of electric aircraft, determine its effectiveness as an impactful pilot training capability and realise the net-zero ambitions of the service's ASTRA initiative. The flights used a fully certified two-seater pilot training aircraft, the Velis Electro. Flight and safety assurances were developed during the summer of 2021, which was organised and delivered by the team from Elbit Systems UK, through Affinity, in partnership with the Civil Aviation Authority. The pathfinder programme was split into three phases. As part of Phase 1 in December 2021, test flights took off from Damyn's Hall, Essex, and continued into January 2022. Phase 2 commenced in March 2022, and saw the aircraft join Affinity's existing fleet at RAF Cranwell, where up to twenty additional pilots will fly the eco-friendly aircraft. Finally, Phase 3 of the flight trials will welcome senior government officials and observers. "We are delighted to be leading this exciting initiative with the Ministry of Defence. The concept of zero emissions aircraft being utilised by the RAF has always been considered hypothetical and we are proud to have proposed and delivered initial capability for this pathfinder. Elbit Systems UK has always been, and continues to be, at the forefront of advances in the Defence industry, supporting our Armed Forces as they address the requirements of tomorrow." Martin Fausset, CEO of Elbit Systems UK About Elbit Systems UK Elbit Systems UK Ltd. holds three wholly owned subsidiaries as well as two joint ventures. In total, over 600 personnel are employed by the Elbit Systems UK companies in the UK, in high tech roles in the defence, aerospace and rail sectors. The two joint ventures were formed in order to deliver the Watchkeeper programme for the British Army and to supply and support three fleets of aircraft within the UK MOD Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS) programme. Elbit Systems UK is an established supplier to the UK Armed Forces, participating in several major Defence programmes such as Selborne, Morpheus and MEWSIC Increment 1, and delivering the Dismounted Joint Fires Integrator and Joint Fires Synthetic Trainer.

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BUSINESS AVIATION

Aviation Capital Group Announces Financing of Two Airbus A321neo LR Aircraft for TAP Air Portugal

Aviation Capital Group | April 13, 2022

Aviation Capital Group LLC (“ACG”) announced today the secured financing of two Airbus A321neo LR aircraft for TAP Air Portugal (“TAP”). This financing marks the fifth use by ACG’s Aircraft Financing Solutions (“AFS”) program of its $650 million secured funding facility. This allowed ACG to provide a senior secured loan to TAP and to partner with Novus Aviation Capital (“Novus”), who provided complementary mezzanine financing. Together, ACG and Novus were able to offer TAP an attractive and comprehensive financing solution. “ACG is grateful to have had the opportunity to work with TAP and Novus on this financing. We were able to draw upon our established relationship with Novus to effectively meld the senior and junior loans and to provide TAP with timely and efficient financing. Moreover, we were finally able to bring to fruition ACG’s long held desire to work with TAP again,” said Andrew Falk, Managing Director of ACG. “We are delighted to complete this transaction with both ACG and TAP, continuing to support an existing airline customer. Not only are we building on our relationship with this additional financing for TAP, but we are also very proud to have a strong foundation with ACG that will allow both parties to collaborate on future opportunities. This debt structure is an attractive value proposition and the combination of asset type and stakeholders involved makes it appealing for both Novus and Tamweel Aviation Finance, one of the industry’s leading mezzanine loan providers.” Mamoun Kuzbari, Chief Commercial Officer, Novus Aviation Capital “TAP is very pleased to work with ACG and Novus on this financing and we are very confident that these two additional A321neo LR aircraft that are joining our fleet, already one of the youngest and most efficient in the world, will contribute to the success of our airline,” said Gonçalo Pires, Chief Financial Officer of TAP Air Portugal. About Aviation Capital Group Aviation Capital Group was founded in 1989 and is one of the world’s premier full-service aircraft asset managers with over 440 owned, managed and committed aircraft as of December 31, 2021, which are leased to approximately 90 airlines in approximately 45 countries. ACG is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tokyo Century Corporation.

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AIR TRANSPORT

Transoft Solutions and Skyway Have Announced a Strategic Partnership

Skyway | April 11, 2022

Skyway Technologies Corp. has announced a new strategic relationship with Transoft Solutions Inc., demonstrating the company's continuous leadership in the field of urban air mobility and air traffic management. This collaboration demonstrates Skyway's capacity to work with businesses of all sizes and compete as a vital resource in the industry's open market. Transoft offers an unrivaled suite of infrastructure planning products and services to complement Skyway's and the international Urban Air Mobility (UAM) market's efforts. In the ever-growing vertiport infrastructure market, the alliance will deliver vital innovation. Both firms will work on sophisticated vertiport planning methodologies to mold the tools needed for creative development, with a focus on developing EVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft. This will allow industry professionals to build, construct, and simulate future vertiport master plans with more accuracy. Understanding the scalable throughput of flight operations will be critical in the decision-making process, as vertiport infrastructure development is likely to be one of the hottest real estate plays in aviation history. The collaboration will aid the industry in comprehending the potential of creating a vertiport as well as the tools required for success. "Empowering the next generation vertiport planners with the tools needed to scale vertiport operations will pave the way for investments into the infrastructure that will benefit all UAM stakeholders." Clifford Cruz- CEO, Skyway Transoft is known around the world for providing cutting-edge software and services for the aviation industry, including planning, simulation, modeling, and design. Transoft and Skyway are pushing boundaries in academic research and development to further understand what the reality of building a vertiport will be. This will help to speed up the development of critical technologies for airports and private sector investments to begin breaking ground on infrastructure projects around the world.

Read More

DEFENSE AND SPACE

Elbit Systems UK JV introduces sustainable aviation pathfinder for Ministry of Defence

Elbit Systems | April 18, 2022

Elbit Systems UK and KBR Inc's joint venture, Affinity Flying Training Services Ltd (Affinity), has embarked on a series of battery-powered flight tests for the UK Ministry of Defence to assess the feasibility of environmentally friendly alternatives to current military aircraft. The concept of trialling zero emissions aircraft, and the subsequent pathfinder, was brought to the Ministry of Defence by Elbit Systems UK through its joint venture with KBR Inc, Affinity. The introduction of this pathfinder demonstrates the company's commitment to providing innovative solutions for the UK Armed Forces and addressing the needs of the future. In line with the Ministry of Defence's 'green' transformation, the flights aim to help the Royal Air Force (RAF) assess the technology of electric aircraft, determine its effectiveness as an impactful pilot training capability and realise the net-zero ambitions of the service's ASTRA initiative. The flights used a fully certified two-seater pilot training aircraft, the Velis Electro. Flight and safety assurances were developed during the summer of 2021, which was organised and delivered by the team from Elbit Systems UK, through Affinity, in partnership with the Civil Aviation Authority. The pathfinder programme was split into three phases. As part of Phase 1 in December 2021, test flights took off from Damyn's Hall, Essex, and continued into January 2022. Phase 2 commenced in March 2022, and saw the aircraft join Affinity's existing fleet at RAF Cranwell, where up to twenty additional pilots will fly the eco-friendly aircraft. Finally, Phase 3 of the flight trials will welcome senior government officials and observers. "We are delighted to be leading this exciting initiative with the Ministry of Defence. The concept of zero emissions aircraft being utilised by the RAF has always been considered hypothetical and we are proud to have proposed and delivered initial capability for this pathfinder. Elbit Systems UK has always been, and continues to be, at the forefront of advances in the Defence industry, supporting our Armed Forces as they address the requirements of tomorrow." Martin Fausset, CEO of Elbit Systems UK About Elbit Systems UK Elbit Systems UK Ltd. holds three wholly owned subsidiaries as well as two joint ventures. In total, over 600 personnel are employed by the Elbit Systems UK companies in the UK, in high tech roles in the defence, aerospace and rail sectors. The two joint ventures were formed in order to deliver the Watchkeeper programme for the British Army and to supply and support three fleets of aircraft within the UK MOD Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS) programme. Elbit Systems UK is an established supplier to the UK Armed Forces, participating in several major Defence programmes such as Selborne, Morpheus and MEWSIC Increment 1, and delivering the Dismounted Joint Fires Integrator and Joint Fires Synthetic Trainer.

Read More

BUSINESS AVIATION

Aviation Capital Group Announces Financing of Two Airbus A321neo LR Aircraft for TAP Air Portugal

Aviation Capital Group | April 13, 2022

Aviation Capital Group LLC (“ACG”) announced today the secured financing of two Airbus A321neo LR aircraft for TAP Air Portugal (“TAP”). This financing marks the fifth use by ACG’s Aircraft Financing Solutions (“AFS”) program of its $650 million secured funding facility. This allowed ACG to provide a senior secured loan to TAP and to partner with Novus Aviation Capital (“Novus”), who provided complementary mezzanine financing. Together, ACG and Novus were able to offer TAP an attractive and comprehensive financing solution. “ACG is grateful to have had the opportunity to work with TAP and Novus on this financing. We were able to draw upon our established relationship with Novus to effectively meld the senior and junior loans and to provide TAP with timely and efficient financing. Moreover, we were finally able to bring to fruition ACG’s long held desire to work with TAP again,” said Andrew Falk, Managing Director of ACG. “We are delighted to complete this transaction with both ACG and TAP, continuing to support an existing airline customer. Not only are we building on our relationship with this additional financing for TAP, but we are also very proud to have a strong foundation with ACG that will allow both parties to collaborate on future opportunities. This debt structure is an attractive value proposition and the combination of asset type and stakeholders involved makes it appealing for both Novus and Tamweel Aviation Finance, one of the industry’s leading mezzanine loan providers.” Mamoun Kuzbari, Chief Commercial Officer, Novus Aviation Capital “TAP is very pleased to work with ACG and Novus on this financing and we are very confident that these two additional A321neo LR aircraft that are joining our fleet, already one of the youngest and most efficient in the world, will contribute to the success of our airline,” said Gonçalo Pires, Chief Financial Officer of TAP Air Portugal. About Aviation Capital Group Aviation Capital Group was founded in 1989 and is one of the world’s premier full-service aircraft asset managers with over 440 owned, managed and committed aircraft as of December 31, 2021, which are leased to approximately 90 airlines in approximately 45 countries. ACG is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tokyo Century Corporation.

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AIR TRANSPORT

Transoft Solutions and Skyway Have Announced a Strategic Partnership

Skyway | April 11, 2022

Skyway Technologies Corp. has announced a new strategic relationship with Transoft Solutions Inc., demonstrating the company's continuous leadership in the field of urban air mobility and air traffic management. This collaboration demonstrates Skyway's capacity to work with businesses of all sizes and compete as a vital resource in the industry's open market. Transoft offers an unrivaled suite of infrastructure planning products and services to complement Skyway's and the international Urban Air Mobility (UAM) market's efforts. In the ever-growing vertiport infrastructure market, the alliance will deliver vital innovation. Both firms will work on sophisticated vertiport planning methodologies to mold the tools needed for creative development, with a focus on developing EVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft. This will allow industry professionals to build, construct, and simulate future vertiport master plans with more accuracy. Understanding the scalable throughput of flight operations will be critical in the decision-making process, as vertiport infrastructure development is likely to be one of the hottest real estate plays in aviation history. The collaboration will aid the industry in comprehending the potential of creating a vertiport as well as the tools required for success. "Empowering the next generation vertiport planners with the tools needed to scale vertiport operations will pave the way for investments into the infrastructure that will benefit all UAM stakeholders." Clifford Cruz- CEO, Skyway Transoft is known around the world for providing cutting-edge software and services for the aviation industry, including planning, simulation, modeling, and design. Transoft and Skyway are pushing boundaries in academic research and development to further understand what the reality of building a vertiport will be. This will help to speed up the development of critical technologies for airports and private sector investments to begin breaking ground on infrastructure projects around the world.

Read More

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